Yorkshire has become synonymous with UK cycling. Whisper it: the home of UK cycling?? Ask a local and there's nowhere better in the world to cycle than in 'God's Own County'. With the Tour de Yorkshire, the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart and the 2019 World Champs heading to Harrogate - it seems the rest of the world might feel the same way!
We've been desperate to get up to Yorkshire for a weekend for ages now, but if we've learnt anything in all our years of cycling then it's ask a local about the best routes. No matter how much pre planning you do, how many hours on Strava heatmap, there is no substitute for local knowledge when it comes to routes. This is exactly why we've teamed up with Yorkshire Velo Tours for our Dirty Wknd in Yorkshire; their local knowledge of the roads, hills and coffee stops of the Dales mean that we're in for a real treat next weekend.
With the Tour de Yorkshire happening this weekend (28th-30th) on some of the very same roads we'll be riding on, we couldn't be more excited about our trip. There are still 2 spaces left on our trip on the 5th - 7th May, so if you're interested in coming along, then please click this link - Yorkshire Wknd Details
Trip & Route Itinerary:
Friday is arrival day - we'll make our way up to Ilkley by train or car (whichever you prefer) and at a time of your choosing. If you're lucky enough to be able to take time off on the Friday you can take leave London at your leisure. If you (sadly) have to work then joining the scrum of people fleeing London can actually be quite exciting! Either way, the only plan for Friday is to arrive in Ilkley and go to the pub for a delicious late supper, a few drinks and bed.
Saturday is big ride day! Taking on quite a lot of stage 3 of the previous weekend's Tour de Yorkshire, we're going to be out in the Dales all day, taking on 70 miles of glorious hills, country roads and beautiful scenery. Best get a hearty breakfast in then.
Luckily breakfast is included at our hotel in Ilkley, so we're all covered there. Just the hills to worry about then!
According to Charles from YVT, Saturday's route is 'a tasty ride taking in some classic climbs but also a really pretty route ranging from moorland to scenic valleys.' In his own words:
"Not long after starting we join the route that the Tour de Yorkshire riders will be taking just 6 days before us. We pass through historic Bolton Abbey onto Burnsall, with a glorious view to our right of Simon’s Seat. After passing through the village of Appletreewick we'll tackle the first significant climb of ‘Skyreholme’ and then loop back to the first cafe stop in Airton.
Back on our bikes, after a short warm up, we'll ascend the iconic Malham Cove climb (Top 100 climb) with views of the majestic cove to the right, leading onto the famous limestone pavements. It’s now time for some scenic moorland, including taking in Pen-y-Ghent climb, before descending into quiet and unspoilt Littondale, a ’hidden gem’ of a valley. Not long after, it’s the second cafe stop for lunch
The final leg takes us back down the Wharfe Valley, with the option of tackling the ‘Langbar’ climb, which featured on the 'Tour de Celeb' TV programme in autumn 2016 - see if you can cycle up it unlike Louie Spence!"
Whilst we will succeed where Louis failed, it's going to a big and glorious day in the saddle. One of those days that you never forget! After returning to the hotel to clean up and bolt on the spare set of legs, it's off out to the pub for team dinner (we're reliably informed this is what Team Sky do after a big stage - roast dinner and 3 pints of ale). We're looking forward to experiencing a proper Yorkshire pub, and some real ale. Better not go to crazy on the booze though, still got another big ride on the Sunday, and this isn't surrey - can't show up with beer legs and expect to survive!
After breakfast we'll head out on the road for day 2. Sunday will see us riding in a slightly different direction from Ilkley, taking in some of stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire (hopefully all the paint will still be on the roads - so we feel like pros!) Charles' description of day 2 confirms that it's going to be another tough but rewarding day:
"The ride features 2 of Simon Warren’s top 100 British climbs and also another one from his book on Yorkshire. The ride will set off in the opposite direction from Saturday, heading down through Otley, the hometown of Lizzie Diegnan. Watch out who’s coming in the opposite direction today, as this is the usual Sunday morning route out for the Brownlee brothers, who always give a friendly greeting!
Soon after Otley, a half mile hill warms the legs up nicely for the climb of Norwood Edge (Top 100 climbs). It’s then a northerly section onto the challenge of Hartwith Bank up to Brimham rocks. After a twisty descent, we soon pass through the village of Pateley Bridge before the final significant climb of Greenhow Hill (Top 100 climbs). The reward is a straight descent of several miles to Blubberhouses, before the final pull up the hill to the top of Asquith Moor. Another exhilarating downhill section follows taking us back into the Wharfe Valley and onto a deserved cafe stop in Ilkley."
Even if we don't spot a Brownlee (fingers crossed that we do though) being shown around Charles' back yard by experienced local guides is going to make for a pretty memorable day. After Sunday's ride we have the use of a local leisure centre to shower and change, a final lunch in Ilkley before heading back to London, refreshed and rejuvenated. Or maybe just exhausted, but with some amazing miles in our legs!